Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross

  • Release Date: March 31st 2015  
  • Pages: 288
  • Genre: Paranormal YA
  • Publisher: Harlequin Teen

I picked this book up at the Harlequin Teen signing at BEA and knew nothing about .I knew Cross vaugeley from steampunk series that starts with The Girl in the Steel Corset, but I'd never heard of this series. I think I chose this as my first post-BEA books because this is the first time in a long time I've read something with no information about it. It felt like the old days when every book I read was a new discovery.

Sister of Blood and Spirit is a paranormal YA with a bit of a horror twist.Twin sisters Wren and Lark (wink, wink) are near identical with two key differences; 1. Wren's hair is a bright red and Lark's is white and 2. Wren was born a ghost and only Lark can see her.

Yeah, this cover is very on the nose.

Everyone thinks Lark is crazy because she claims she can see her dead twin sister and it's given her a rough exterior and made her kind of a loner. And the fact that she tried to kill herself to be with her sister and spent time in a psychiatric hospital doesn't help. She is just fine with phoning it in through high school until a group of her classmates need her knowledge of all things ghostly to stop a ghost that has been hunting them.

This book reminded me a lot of The Mediator series by Meg Cabot (I can't even with how much I read these books in high school) and maybe a splash of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Ghosts have always been attracted to Lark and she has honed some ghost fighting skills that are employed quite often in this book.

I had a hard time with this book because so much is done through telling instead of showing. Lark was in a mental institution just prior to the books opening and she and her sister refer to experiences there so much I started to think this book was a sequel to something. Also the world building is almost non-existent. Wren, the dead sister, sometimes goes to the Shadow Lands but it is never explained what these look like or what happens there.

I give this book points for having some diverse characters...but I don't love the way Cross writes them. Lark's love interest says he never thought his crush (who is Lark) would like a "chubby Twinkie kid" like himself. Then he explains a Twinkie is someone who is and I quote; "yellow on the outside, white in the middle" and then continues on about how he has never been to Korea. This felt really weird to me.

The most generous reading I can give is that the author intended the Twinkie lines as sort of joke because they riff of it, but it came off as problematic to me. It was like after explicitly stating he was Korean the book had to reinforce that he was just like a white person.I hate to criticize every ethnic portrayal in YA, but there are so few I kind of have to. I wouldn't say it's a reason not to pick up this book, but it's something worth noting.

While the mythology could use some work, I found Sisters of Blood and Spirit an entertaining ghost story about how the bonds of family can overcome anything--including death.

This is the fourth book (After Fangirl and The Infinite Moment of Us and Jess' review of Reboot ) with a character named Wren. Is that a popular name now ?

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